If you are interested in and planning to study in Japan, then the most important things to consider how much everything is going to cost. We will break down the cost and guide you as much as possible of expenses and possible earning (part-time job on student visa) so that you can better prepare and well budget your study, without any surprise.

The tuition fees in Japan are relatively affordable and cheap compare with US, UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Fees for international students are the same with as Japanese national or little lower in many institutes (such as at vocational school, Junior college and university). Japanese Language schools tuition fees are way lower comparing with other study abroad language program in developed countries. For an example tuition fee in US language school for a year will be $10,000 to 12,000 or above. Japanese language school tuition average $6,000 to $7,000 the most. Cost of studying in University in Japan maybe slightly higher.


Most school and educational institute offer dormitories for their student, enrolled at the institute. Beside dormitories school also offer other housing options directly managed or through affiliated real estate agent for their students, such as share-house, weekly Mansion, homestay and apartment etc. Language school offers dormitory/housing (shared room) cost and privately rented hosing cost doesn’t differ much. The cost will range between 40,000 ~100,000 yen. Other initial cost involve (such as entrance fee, security deposit, Wi-Fi fee etc.). Dormitory recommended for new comer who has never been to Japan, as it’s usually close to school (15-30 minutes by train), some are just walking distance.

Once student get familiar with the surroundings and life in Japan, they can look for a place on their own or share apartment with others (though it’s not common in Japan) for comfortableness, privacy and personal freedom. If you are planning to stay in private accommodation then chances are that your utilities bills will not include in your monthly rent. The average utilities cost is about 11,000 yen a month (4,000 for electricity, 4,000 yen for gas and 3,000 yen for water.


Monthly living expenses including tuition varies very much. It depends on the location, city and prefecture that one decided to live and study.
The average monthly cost nationwide 138,000 yen. The lowest living expenses at 104,000 in the Shikoku region and Kanto has the highest living expenses at 154,000 yen.  


There are rumor that Japanese is very expensive or most expensive country in the World. If you traveled to other countries such as US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Western Europe or from any of these countries you will find Japan reasonably cheaper. Tokyo is Cheaper than London, New York, Toronto and many other big Western cities.

There are many great things and many beautiful places to visit in Japan. Let’s see how much does it cost to travel and save while traveling. Let’s start with food, surprisingly the food actually quite inexpensive. Though there are many expensive restaurant but it’s easy to find cheap food. Japan doesn’t have street food culture like Philippines, Thailand or China, but there are delicious and cheap Izakaya, ramen shop, Japanese fast food restaurants, convenient stores, conveyor belt sushi, cheap lunch deals, name of a few (and Vikings are available). There are many other cheap eating places that are available that you will discover on your own. Also don’t forget the fact that Japan has famous 100 yen shops that sells food and daily necessities.


If you don’t have a friend and family in Japan then you need to think about accommodation. For tourists, there are so many options available such as Hostels, Capsule hotels, Manga Kissa, Ryokan, Weekly mansion, Business Hotels etc.
For students, if you are in very tight budget and privacy is less of your concern, then you might find staying in dormitories is cheaper and budget friendly. If you’re okay sharing a house but want your own private room, then share house is for you. Share house is a great option for those studying in Japan for a year or less as most of them do not have contracts. You can also stay for even one Semester in Japan. Share house recently has stepped up their game by making themes in their apartment. They categorize their apartments according to the interest of their tenants, like music, sports or travel and culture. This is sure a fun way to mingle with other people staying in Japan as well. 

Dormitory room usually shared between two or more people, maximum six people in a room. The kitchen and bathrooms are shared, some rooms may be equipped with their own fridge and bath room.

Pros: It is the cheapest accommodations in Japan (it can be as low as YEN 29,800 per month). One gets to meet people and make friends. It is also not necessary to buy furniture and equipment.

Cons: No or very little privacy, common facilities, rules to abide by, possibly a curfew.

It is probably the best compromise to live an autonomous life at a reduced cost. In a shared apartment, one can lead a more independent life by having their own room, though the facilities are shared.

Pros: Easy to avail, reasonable priced, good way to meet people and make friends, furnished and utilities included.

Cons: Shared facilities and with limited privacy. One can never be sure of getting along with their housemates. If you are not comfortable sharing toilets, bathroom or kitchen with others and want more privacy then share house is not a good choice for you.


The railway system in Japan is the best in the world. One can use train to go anywhere in Japan, it’s always on time, clean, fast. For tourists, JR Pass is a good option. For students, it is always advisable to purchase the commuters pass also known as 定期券 (teikiken). This is discounted ticket for 1, 3, or 6 months. This will make your commute cheap and convenient. If you don’t know how to purchase the commuter pass, you may use this link as a guide (https://www.tokyometro.jp/lang_en/ticket/types/pass/commuter/index.html).



Below is an estimate and breakdown for 1 year tuition fees.

Visa application/Registration:      20,000 ~ 22,000

Entrance fee:                               50,000 ~ 55,000

Tuition:                                         660,000 ~ 680,000

Facilities:                                      30,000 ~ 33,000

Material:                                       10,000 ~ 33,000
First Year total fee:                   770,000 ~ 823,000

The tuition and other course related fees slightly differ from school to school. Student must pay the first 12 month in full, after student can pay the remaining if they extend beyond first year (3 months, 6 months, p months and 1 year) before the semester start.


Here is a simulation of  monthly budget/living expenses to study in Japan. Foreign students are allowed to work part-time in Japan (a maximum of 28 hours per week) and  majority of them do so. This is something that you may also consider. This will enable you to practice your Japanese and will help you financially.

Assuming that the tuition fees, appliances and other items have been paid, you will see that daily expenses can be covered by part time job. 

To make this simulation realistic, we added as many expenses as possible (while remaining reasonable, other expenses like  personal travel is not included ). In many cases, students choose accommodation walking-distance from their school. Here we took into account public transportation commuting. Likewise, we counted 1,500 yen for meals every day but when under budget, students can lower this cost.

Please keep in mind that life in Japan is not so expensive. There are ways to keep expenses in check, for example by shopping at 100 yen shops.

Below, you will find the case of a student enrolled in a one year program, in Tokyo, with housing in a shared apartment. In this scenario, the foreign student works as a waiter in a restaurant.




Monthly Expenses:

Rent: 40,000 Yen (shared apartment) 

Commuting (Suica card): 5,000 Yen

Food: 1,500 Yen x 30 days = 45,000 Yen

Other expenses (supplies, phone bill etc): 10,000 Yen

Going out on weekend (dinner, drink): 4 times/month x 2,000 Yen = 8,000 Yen

Total of monthly expenses: 108,000 yen

Monthly Income:

Work (28 hours per week at 1,013 Yen per hour *)

28 hours x 4 weeks = 112 hours per month

112 hours x 1,000 Yen =  113,456 yen

This is only a simulation of a budget to study in Japan. Of course, each situation is unique. Some people manage to keep expenses really low. Others may go out a lot and need a higher budget. In any case, what we would like you to remember here is that the Japanese law allows you to work up to 28 hours per week so take advantage of it. It is your chance to experience how to work with Japanese and use this chance to practice your speaking ability. You earn while you learn. 

* Minimum wages vary from prefecture to prefecture, from 762 Yen to 985 Yen in Tokyo (for more information about minimum wages in Japan, click here – page in Japanese only). Wages depend on jobs and required skills. For example, a foreign student who teaches his/her own language may earn 2,000 Yen per hour. For less qualified jobs students earn around 1,000 Yen per hour. Rate can go up if you work 10 PM onwards. Some companies now offer attractive rate because of the lack of manpower. 


To do your own calculations, please click here.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.